GRINDHOUSE was the first Tarantino movie since RESERVOIR DOGS that I didn't see in the theater. I was working seven days a week when it came out and it seemed like I couldn't find the time. Understandable enough, but there's no excuse for not seeing it on DVD. In fact, I still haven't seen Tarantino's installment, DEATH PROOF. But I'm ready, willing and able, and it's in my queue. First up, though, was the Rodriguez effort, PLANET TERROR.
PLANET TERROR was everything I wanted it to be. Funny, exciting, gory, and grindhouse as hell. And it's got Jeff Fahey in it, which is just perfect if you think about it as an earnest effort. The key to PLANET TERROR'S success, I think, is Rodriguez's tightrope walk between satire and deadpan, all carried out above the safety net of homage. The movie is obviously tongue in cheek, but it also plays as a contemporary expression of the old Roger Corman movies. That is, if the grindhouse of yesteryear were still in full effect today, the result would not be far from PLANET TERROR. The cast, especially, is the perfect mix of semi-knowns and has-beens. Fortunately for us, they're all extremely talented.
I hear that DEATH PROOF is the superior of the two movies, but I also think it's a little like apples and oranges. MY understanding is that Rodriguez pushed the assignment to its logical limit, while Tarantino basically made another Tarantino movie.
One last thing I want to throw out there about this movie, and I'd like a little feedback on this thought:PLANET TERROR is the most meta movie ever made.